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27/01/2015 23:24
PGE Skra make it six in a row to cap memorable campaign in CL League Round
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men

Belchatow, Poland, January 27, 2015. PGE Skra defeated Jihostroj CESKE BUDEJOVICE by 3:0 (25-17, 25-13, 26-24) to close the group phase of the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men with a perfect record, winning 18 and losing only 2 sets along the way. The Polish champions beat the Czech opponent despite the absence of two world champions in their starting line-up and with the rest of the usual starters sitting on the bench.

The PGE Skra players, who had already secured their top position with their away victory in Antwerp from last week, remained focused also for their last match in Pool F of the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men. Both coaches were forced to square off their respective teams without some key players. Miguel Falasca decided to give some rest to Mariusz Wlazly, who caught flu, and to Michal Winiarski, who suffered some muscle strains, while Jan Svoboda could not use his ill libero, Robert Hupka, while three more players played being still fighting with a cold.

“The illness of my players was not the only problem, as we could not receive the opponents’ services well. PGE Skra showed a really good performance tonight,” stated Jihostroj coach Jan Svoboda.  

PGE Skra started strong and took an early lead when Jan Kuliha was unable to cope with Nicolas Maréchal’s first serve of the match. The Frenchman with Polish passport proved to be one of the best players of the match also in the middle of the opening set, when his precise serves enabled the home team to secure a 4-point advantage at the second technical time-out and win the first set comfortably (25-17).

The dominance of the Polish powerhouse was getting bigger and bigger with every point. The home team was very good especially at serving, scoring a record 11 points from outside the baseline. Nearly 2,500 enthusiastic fans started to worry only at the beginning of the third set, when Jihostroj built a small advantage (7:4). However, the Czechs were unable to keep that pace for a long time, losing the lead after the perfectly placed attack of Maciej Muzaj, when the score was levelled at 8:8. The young opposite who substituted Wlazly was also the player who gave Skra a 10:8 advantage with a powerful serve. Muzaj turned out to be the man who closed the match with three powerful serves.

“If the opponents play like that you can do nothing. We received a serious lesson of serving from the home team,” commented Petr Habr, Jihostroj’s team captain.

Muzaj finished the match with 12 points, while Maréchal added 12 and Wojciech Wlodarczyk 10. The top scorer for the visitors was Petr Sulista who performed very well especially in the third set and ended up with a personal haul of nine points.

“We are undefeated this year and we wanted to confirm our good form in this match too,” said Karol Klos, who captained the home team for the second time in his career and the first in the Champions League. “In such matches you just cannot lose your concentration and we managed to do that. I am happy to be the captain of a team with a perfect score: when I am the leader, the team wins every match and I also win the coin tossing,” Klos added showing his good mood at the press conference that followed the match.

Miguel Angel Falasca could not stop praising his players: “They are usually substitutes but they showed how good they can play. With no pressure they played close to perfection for a long time. We need our bench players in such shape for the rest of the season,” stated the PGE Skra coach.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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